„What notebooks can tell us about an artist’s work”

Handwritten notes provide a very personal insight into an artist’s working methods and creative processes, which otherwise usually remain hidden from the public. Here, fleeting thoughts grow into mature work concepts, and influences from literature, music and art provide decisive impulses, which are reflected and commented upon in the artist’s work. Contrary to literary text production, the focus here lies not primarily on the final text or versions of a text, but rather on the concept that can lead to a physical manifestation.

The talk will introduce the digital scholarly edition project representing the 35 notebooks of the Austrian conceptual artist Hartmut Skerbisch (1945–2009), a handwritten corpus created over a period of almost 40 years. It presents a model for the encoding of primary sources containing textual and graphical components of equivalent semantic meaning in TEI, and introduces the semantic enrichment of the TEI-encoded sources through formal descriptions in RDF/XML taxonomies using linked open data.

Through a digital, genetic, and semantically enriched scholarly edition, this resource is made available to the public and the genealogy of artistic concepts and artworks documented in the notebooks becomes traceable and comprehensible.

Martina Scholger is a senior scientist and researcher at the Centre for Information Modelling – Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities at the University of Graz. She studied art history and received her PhD in digital humanities with a study on artists’ creation processes documented in their notebooks. She is teaching information and text modelling and is involved in numerous cooperation projects in the field of digital scholarly editing. She has been a member of the Institute for Documentology and Scholarly Editing since 2014 and a member of the TEI Technical Council since 2016, where she is currently serving as Chair.